Wednesday afternoon, the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles at LA Live was a bevy of activity for the hometown Lakers, visiting Hornets and the world of heavy-metal. About three hours prior to tipoff of Game 2 of the NBA Western Conference opening round playoff matchup between the New Orleans Hornets and Los Angeles Lakers, the most famous basketball player in the world made a very brief appearance in the driveway of the luxury hotel, located less than a block from Staples Center. Kobe Bryant owns space in the Ritz-Carlton Residences, a high rise that houses 224 condos, including 12 Penthouses. The 54-story, two-hotel hybrid is a joint effort of Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott. Bryant was one of the very first people to purchase a condo in this complex. He made the commitment prior the building’s opening in early 2010.
An interesting caveat to this story involves Kobe’s modes of transportation during practice and game days in Los Angeles. As previously reported, Kobe takes a helicopter from his Newport Beach, California home to both the Lakers practice facility in El Segundo (just south of LAX) and the Staples Center in Downtown LA. Once on the ground in both locations, Kobe has been spotted on multiple occasions driving around in a black Mercedes-Benz CLS. Wednesday was no different, as he walked from the hotel exit to the very same Mercedes and quickly drove down Georgia Street and into the arena parking area. Kobe was all business, walking with a very stern and serious look on his face. He almost certainly arrived to the hotel early, so he could get some extra rest before guarding Chris Paul in what turned out to be a Lakers Game 2 victory.
A few minutes later, Lakers assistant coach Brian Shaw walked out of the building and boarded a Land Rover, taking the same 30 second drive to Staples. A couple minutes after that, Lakers guard Derek Fisher made the very same walk into an Audi and headed over to the loading area at Staples. Clearly, members of the World Champions take full advantage of this luxurious destination located so close to their home arena. Looking to beat LA traffic and get some extra relaxation, the Ritz-Carlton/JW Marriott appears to serve a great purpose for the team, including its superstar.
The Ritz-Carlton/JW Marriott property and the adjacent LA Live entertainment complex had an interesting mix of activity throughout Wednesday. The lobby was filled with players and officials from the visiting Hornets throughout the day. The afternoon also included a very surprising sighting of heavy-metal legend Alice Cooper. Cooper was on hand to attend the Third Annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards at Club Nokia, located within the LA Live facility. The Hornets would eventually board charter buses for the incredibly brief drive to Staples Center, shortly after Kobe and company entered their vehicles.
The Ritz-Carlton/JW Marriott was definitely the place to be on Wednesday for fans of both basketball and music.